Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - New polling suggests most Alaskans identify as pro-choice and a vast majority don’t want to see the Legislature restrict access to abortion.
According to writer Matt Buxton's The Midnight Sun news site, the polling results were provided by Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, the political advocacy wing of Planned Parenthood, ahead of legislative hearings on anti-abortion legislation. The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners, which received an A/B grade in FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings.
With Republicans feeling renewed pressure from far-right anti-abortion groups, the Legislature saw a flurry of anti-abortion bills filed ahead of the personal legislation filing deadline. The Legislature has sidestepped abortion in recent years - but passed legislation seeking to limit state funding for abortions as recently as 2014.
It was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court.
The poll was conducted between Sept. 4 and 11, contacting 500 registered voters in Alaska by phone.
The main topic of the polling was to examine voters’ attitudes about abortion bans, birth control, sexual education, Planned Parenthood and some related political issues.
The topline takeaways are that 59 percent of Alaskans identify as pro-choice, including 34 percent of Republicans. Nearly 8-in-10 Alaskans say they don’t want to see “laws passed that ban abortion in the state Legislature,” and 58 percent of Alaskans say women should have access to all forms of reproductive health care options, including abortion.
Support for this is above 50 percent in all subgroups, except those who identify as anti-abortion.
Also, 83 percent of Alaskans say it’s important “for there to be access to birth control for everyone who wants it or needs its.” This includes two-thirds of anti-abortion respondents and 7 in 10 Republicans. Six-in-10 Alaskans say they would be “less likely to support their state legislator if he or she supported the governor’s vetoes to cut Medicaid, education and the courts.” As for Republicans, 49 percent said their support would go up if their legislator supported these vetoes. Seventy-six percent of Alaskans supported legislation that extends protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
There’s nearly unanimous support for sex education (95 percent agree) and that it should be medically accurate (93 percent agree) and age-appropriate (92 percent agree). There’s 90 percent agreement for sex education that covers healthy relationships, consent and communication skills.
Planned Parenthood has a 58 percent favorable rating from Alaskans, with 37 percent saying they have a very favorable position. A bulk of the organization’s support comes from women, younger voters, Democrats, pro-choice voters, Anchorage residents and non-parents.
The net favorable ratings for the Congress and Legislature aren’t great. Congress has a -26 net unfavorable rating. The Alaska Legislature is at -23.